What Just Happened?: Syndicate and Twisted Metal Demo Impressions

7 02 2012

Every once in awhile it’s nice to take a pause from fighting games and try other things. The Pause Button’s own IncreaseBlue did just that over the weekend and dove into both The Syndicate and Twisted Metal demos over the weekend. She offers her thoughts on both below:

IncreaseBlue-

I need to go back to Soul Calibur V. Things were simpler there.

I dove into these demos as a way to take a break from the strategy and technical game play of Namco’s latest iteration of the Soul series, but both seemed to confuse me much more than I had expected them to.

The Syndicate-

The Syndicate was a demo that I downloaded right away and jumped into with an excited smile on my face, only to have slowly but surely wiped off and replaced by a grimace.

As soon as I dove in I was barraged with a ton of information without explanation. In the main menus you pick your characters’ class, upgrades, and style without a whole lot of guidance. I ended up picking a support character and soon realized that other than the weapons you have, the classes don’t mean much in the way of abilities.

I dove in with a single co-op partner and was dismayed that there was no option to play with humans and AI a la The Heist style. If there was, I certainly couldn’t find it in the puzzle that was the main menu.

Once in the game, I was interested in the cool tech layout for the hud but was instantly dismayed by the splotchy textures and rather bland scenery. The character speeds felt clunky (even with changing up the axis sensitivity) and the weapons felt fairly useless or laggy in the way they cause damage in-game.

Since when did "futuristic" mean "bland"?

As far as game play went, it felt like an un-fun version of Left 4 Dead. All of the enemies seemed to infinitely spawn until you finally did away with the big baddie, which is difficult considering your high powered characters can get killed in only a few shots. My co-op partner and I found that any tactics or strategy was immediately done away with in favor of one person mowing down enemies with a shotgun and the other constantly healing them.

Even more annoying was that if you were to be depleted of health, you didn’t die and respawn, but were forced to hobble to a friend so they can give you a “reboot” to refill your health bar. If both of you need a reboot and there are no partners to do it, the mission is failed (even though you’re still technically standing) and you have to restart.

You can play with up to four people, so one can be the designated healer while everyone else has fun.

Most of the co-op was merely travelling from spot to spot unlocking doors and killing off two minibosses without any real clue as to how or why it needed to be done. The few super abilities you could use such as looking through walls temporarily, were overall useless when being swarmed by enemies and abandoned in favor of running and gunning (and don’t forget the constant healing!).

Overall the Syndicate demo was utterly disappointing and just made me value Deus Ex: Human Revolution more. I can only hope that the campaign mode can offer a better experience, but the hope isn’t held very high.

Thank goodness I got to dive into Twisted Metal though.

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